Monday, 6 August 2012

Tino Sehgal - REvisited

With Tino Sehgal's recently unveiled Tate Turbine Hall Commission, I thought it apt to revisit a piece I wrote on his first Scandinavian exhibition at Magasin 3 back in 2008 for Swedish Bon.

Still only 31, Berlin-based Tino Sehgal has already represented Germany at the Venice Biennale and been nominated for the prestigious Hugo Boss Award. In March 2008 he returns to the city where his work transformed from a background in choreography and political economy into Art.

Sehgal unleashes orchestrated scenarios onto often unsuspecting audiences within the confines of the museum or gallery, I’m interested in constructing a situation”, he tells me over the phone fresh from his opening at Marian Goodman, New York. And what a ‘situation’ he creates, no materials are involved in his work, just the presentations from his ‘interpreters’. But who are they? He’s worked with political groups to children and explains, “Interpreter, it’s an overarching word for someone who follows some kind of pre-scripted authored structure but of course has their own creative impact into that.” And this is imperative to the composition of his crafted encounters, you can expect interactions with the gallery staff, or to be invited to discuss various topics with someone whom you assumed to be just another gallery visitor but after Sehgal’s given his instructions, the piece ultimately owns itself.

The line is blurred between theatre and installation but it’s certainly not to be considered performance art, “It’s kind of like a sculpture or like an installation, it has the same kind of permanence”, Sehgal goes onto explain, “For me it was interesting to insert something into this format [the Museum] which was not material but still had the same validity, it functions in the same way in the conventions of the museum so it’s just a work of art like any other that it can be shown in a situation like an exhibition, it’s also something that you have to kind of figure out, well it’s not material but it’s still something”

Whether you do or don’t figure it out, the three pieces that will be on show are to be experienced either by observing from the sidelines or fully participating in the intentional chance engagements.

Tino Sehgal
6 March- 4 May 2008